Tradition and Progress, Taiwan’s Evolving Migration Reality

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By Ji-Ping Lin, PhD
Academia Sinica, Taipei

Migration has created and responded to development changes within Taiwan, both demographically and socioeconomically. Located off the southeast coast of China between Japan and the Philippines, Taiwan has been subject to the influence of changing global circumstances.

Much like the United States, Taiwan has a long historical tradition of immigration that fueled its early development. From the 17th century to the 1940s, immigration and the development of Taiwan were largely shaped both directly and indirectly by the Dutch and the empires of China and Japan. Though Taiwan was in large part closed off from the rest of the world socially and economically while under Japanese rule, the country has experienced a new surge of immigration — and, increasingly, emigration — since the late 1990s, with mobility between Taiwan and China especially prominent.

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